Hear Me Roar

hear me roar

Hi Guys!

Hope you are having a great week! A friend told me a story the other day and I wanted to share it with you:

There was once a lion king (no not, Disney’s Lion King, in case you were wondering…) and his little lion cub (no, not Simba). The lion king was taking the little cub out for the first time to show him around his kingdom. All of a sudden, a hunter appeared and shot the big lion king. The cub was devastated and began to cry.

hear me roar

Along came a shepherd who saw the dead lion king and took pity on the little cub. He wanted to help the cub, but he was worried that if he took the cub home, it would eat his sheep when it grew up. Then the shepherd got an idea, he would shave the lion and make him believe that he was a sheep so that he could integrate with his herd. So the shepherd took the lion home and shaved him. When the cub was introduced to the flock, the other sheep made fun of him, they called him ugly and told him he was weird.

As years passed the lion lost confidence and thought he was just a misfit sheep. He felt sad and lonely. Then one day, another lion came and started devouring the sheep. When the new lion reached the lion cub, the lion cub cowered. “Please don’t eat me, I’m just a helpless sheep he said.” “No,” said the other lion, “you are a lion like me. You are my king, you have been lost, I have been looking for you.” He took the cub down to the river to look at his reflection. As the cub looked at his reflection he realized that he was indeed a lion. He had been told he was a sheep for so long, that he believed it.

***

That story resonated with me. Have you ever believed that you were a “sheep.” Have you ever believed that you couldn’t go after your dreams because you weren’t good enough, have you ever believed that you’d never lose weight because you are destined to be fat, have you ever believed that you just weren’t born to be courageous. We often falsely develop these self dismissing beliefs. Like the lion in the story we let others tell us what we are capable of. Well guess what? I think we all have a little lion in us. We are capable of so much more, we just have to pull the wool from our eyes (pun intended). So get out there and make today amazing you lions and lionesses…

Do you have any beliefs that are holding you back?

 

XOXO

Valerie

Posted in Goals, life, Motivation, Valerie Tagged with: , , ,

Groundhog’s day

groundhogs day

Today is my anniversary to my husband from whom I am divorcing. Today is also groundhog’s day. This made me think of the movie groundhog’s day. In the movie, Bill Murray’s character Phil is forced to relive groundhog’s day over and over again until he learns to re-prioritize his life. As he realizes that he is living the same day over and over again he starts to live recklessly, then he becomes depressed at the hopelessness of the situation and tries to commit suicide, but it doesn’t work. He just wakes up to repeat the day again. Finally, he uses the repeated day as an opportunity to learn, to grow and to help others with his knowledge of how the day will unfold and through this, he is finally able to move on and wake up in a new day.

groundhogs day

I kind of see my marriage and divorce like this. Of course my marriage had problems, some I worked to change, some I couldn’t change and some I chose to ignore. Now with my divorce I get a second chance. This is my groundhog’s day. I get a chance to learn from my mistakes in the past to try to grow and change and make things better. If I don’t use this chance to change and grow, I am doomed to repeat my mistakes and end in another failed relationship.

Sometimes having to start over can feel burdensome. It can feel exhausting and dull like you wasted all of that effort only to have to start again. Don’t see it like that. See it like a fresh start, a new beginning, a chance to learn and grow, because only when you learn the lessons of the past, will you stop repeating them.

What lesson have you had a second chance to learn?

XOXO

Valerie

Posted in Motivation, Valerie Tagged with: ,

No More Back Pain

No More back pain

A few months after Pierce was born I started having some back pain. It started slowly enough, just a dull ache in my sacrum but then one night I was stretching and felt a sharp pain in my back that left me hobbling around for the rest of the evening. This shouldn’t be happening to me, I thought, I’m a Pilates instructor for crying out loud. So I started going to see an acupuncturist and a chiropractor to see what I could do about the back pain. While the acupuncture and chiropractor helped, the problem would return again.No More back pain

It was on one of my visits to a chiropractor that I had a revelation. I was talking to her about the back pain and how it was one sided and I felt it mostly when I was carrying my baby in his car seat. That’s when I realized, the back pain was probably caused by carrying the car seat ONLY on my left side. So I decided to try an experiment. I started carrying my baby and holding the car seat only on my right side. And guess what? The back pain disappeared in about a week! Duh!!

It just goes to show you sometimes our pain is caused by imbalances we create in our bodies, and rather than trying to slap a band aid on the problem, what we really need to do is examine the root cause. If you spend all day slouched over your desk, one Pilates class a week is not going to undo all the damage you have done. Its up to you to create healthy, balanced patterns in your life and to keep that sense of awareness when something does not feel right.

Have you ever realized you were causing your own pain?

XOXO

 

Valerie

Posted in Postpartum, Pregnancy, Valerie Tagged with:

I call BS

Lately my creative engines have stalled. I spent a lot of time scrolling through the internet searching for “inspiration.” I spent a lot of time wondering why my creativity felt like it had seized up. And finally the answer revealed itself to me. Everything I was looking at that was “inspirational” just felt too fake and phony, a little too much like BS.

Creativity, for me, comes from a very deep and genuine place and if I was trying to spread rainbows and unicorns when I wasn’t feeling it I knew it wasn’t going to work. So looking at inspiration that was rainbows and unicorns was also not going to work.

Overwhelmingly, I was pained by a nagging question:ย  How can I inspire others to be healthy when I’ve let my own health slip? If I try to help others at a time like this, I feel like the phony, I feel like I am the one spewing BS.

But the truth is, I am only human. We all are. We all have moments when our health takes a backseat and the important thing is that we don’t beat ourselves up over it, but instead we try to learn from it and do better when we can.

If I was the perfect picture of health and always got 8 hours of sleep and always ate the perfect meals with the perfect amount of calories and macros and always got in a perfect workout, I would not be relatable. After all no one is perfect. And yet, perfection is the image the diet and fitness industry wants to perpetuate. Well guess what? I call BS. Whenever something seems to good to be true, look for smoke and mirrors. Don’t beat yourself up because you don’t live up to some industry’s version of “perfect” work at being the best version of yourself even if that means you are sometimes a hot mess.

XOXO

Valerie

 

Posted in Motivation, Valerie Tagged with: , ,

New Years Resolutions 2017

Well… its that time of year again. Time for setting goals and making resolutions because the brand spanking new year ahead feels like a fresh start. 2016 was filled with challenges for me, but looking back on the goals I set for myself in 2016, I did manage to achieve 3 out of 5 of them and am working on the other 2 in spite of my set backs.

my goals

Setting goals is important. People who set goals achieve more than those who don’t. Setting goals gives you a clear intention and helps you work toward something, rather than just aimlessly wandering through life (not that there is anything wrong with that if that is what you want, but I’m sure you have a lot more potential than that ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). Often times we feel like we are too busy to set goals, when really sitting down and establishing clear goals and priorities would help us the most in calming our “busy-ness” and becoming more productive and efficient.

So here are some of my career goals for 2017:

  1. Get my schedule under control- I have been ridiculously inefficient lately and need to figure out how to work more efficiently with the time I have.
  2. Finish writing my Pre/Postnatal Fitness Book- This has been a goal of mine, to help expecting and new mamas to take care of their body.
  3. Host a Pre/Postnatal workshop- This feeds off ideas in my book
  4. Develop my Pre/Postnatal yoga online class- I recorded a few yoga classes when I was pregnant, I would love to turn them into a resource for expecting moms

You can see that my focus in 2017 will be mostly Pre & Postnatal. This is a topic I am really passionate about. So how about you? What are some of your resolutions or goals for 2017?

Posted in Goals Tagged with: , ,

Mountains to Climb

Sometimes it can feel like you are climbing a mountain. Sometimes you feel like each step is a struggle. You feel tired and worn down. But even as exhausted as you are, the peak of the mountain beacons.

You know each step, as difficult as it might be, is taking you closer to your goal and so you push forward.ย  You keep going. Long past when your body would have given up your heart drags you on.

2016 felt like a mountain to me. If you read my previous post you know why. But I keep going because inside me a fire is burning. I am taking steps toward my goal of helping as many people as possible through fitness and nutrition.

I would love for you to be one of those people. Let me help you reach your mountain peak. You can find out how to work with me here.

XOXO

Valerie

Posted in Goals, Motivation, Valerie

How to make a healthy meal

One of the biggest problems my clients struggle with is creating a healthy meal. At the end of a long day, cooking is usually the last thing you want to do. Its way easier to order out or pop in a microwave meal to avoid having to make something healthy. AND its not just that. Sometimes, its just the act of having to THINK up a healthy meal that creates enough of a barrier. Well today I wanted to remove that barrier for you by giving you my super simple formula for creating a healthy meal in about 30 min. If you follow this formula, you will be able to quickly come up with easy to prepare, healthy meals. Andย  we all know its way better for your body, your energy levels AND your waist line if you invest the time in cooking a healthy meal.

make a healthy meal

So here is my simple formula to help you make a healthy meal, quickly and easily. Create your meals around these 4 main components: 1 serving of protein (4-6oz), 1 serving of complex carbohydrates (4-6 oz) 1 Serving of vegetables (about a cup) and a healthy fat (1 Tbsp) (if your protein choice already is higher fat or if you use fat in the cooking process, skip the healthy fat).

Once you select your components you can get creative with how you prepare them: bake, sautee, grill, sear, boil (try to avoid high fat cooking methods like frying). You can also get creative with the spices you use. Most spices are low in calories. Then prepare the food. This can take as little as 20 min (baked fish and quinoa) or it could take a little longer, but I find that if I use this method and keep my preparation simple I am done cooking in about 30 min. Thats less time than it usually takes to get a pizza delivered!

Here are my lists of components to give you an idea of what options you have. Keep in mind that these lists are just a sampling and you can get as creative as you’d like ๐Ÿ˜‰

Protein:

  • Chicken breast
  • Lean ground chicken (skip healthy fat)
  • Turkey breast
  • Lean ground turkey (skip healthy fat)
  • Lean steak
  • Tilapia
  • Salmon (skip healthy fat)
  • Swordfish
  • Sea bass (skip healthy fat)
  • Mahi-mahi
  • Grilled calamari
  • Shrimp
  • Scallops
  • Cottage cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Whey isolate Protein powder
  • Egg whites
  • Whole eggs (skip healthy fat)

Complex Carbohydrates:

  • Brown rice
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Oatmeal
  • Quinoa
  • Fruit
  • Whole Grain bread
  • Whole Grain Pasta

Vegetables:

  • Leafy greens
  • Green beans
  • Asparagus
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Squash
  • Bell peppers
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Zucchini
  • Eggplant

Fats:

  • Fish oil
  • Flax oil
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Cashews
  • Almond milk
  • Vinaigrette/Dressing
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Avocado
  • Almond butter

Here are some simple meal ideas I’ve tried in the past:

  • Grilled tofu with brown rice and seaweed
  • Fish tacos with whole wheat tortilla and veggies
  • Grilled chicken and veggie kabobs drizzled with olive oil and served with brown rice
  • Baked spiced fish w/ quinoa and arugula salad and vinagrette
  • Veggie frittata with baked potato “fries”

 

Posted in Nutrition Tagged with: , ,

Gifts for Fit Chicks 2016

Holiday gifts for fit chicks

Holiday gifts for fit chicksWith only 3 more shopping days left until Christmas hopefully you’ve already made your list and checked it twice, but in case you haven’t, here are a few ideas for the fit chick on your gift list at any budget level:

 

Beats by Dre wireless headphones– I love my Beats headphones, the sound quality is amazing and I love the fact that I don’t get tangled up in wires or have to keep my phone attached to me for music. If you have the budget for it these make a great gift. ($199)

Apple Watch– This is a great way to listen to your music without having to wear an annoying arm band. You can also use fitness apps to track your steps and calories burned. ($349)

Manduka Yoga Mat– My favorite yoga mat. Durable, cushion-y enough without being too soft, textured enough without causing rub burn. I LOVE this mat and it is perfect for your yoga-loving fit chick. ($99)

Lululemon jacket– Ok, yes “lululemon jacket” is not super specific, but pretty much every lululemon jacket I have owned has been a hit. They are my favorite everyday jacket. Yes, they are also kind of expensive but on a cost per use basis they are totally worth it and so is your fit chick, right? ($198)black

Alo Yoga Moto Leggings– I love this super stylish legging that you could take from the studio or gym to a night out. Perfect for when I want to hop from down dog to my Harley ๐Ÿ˜‰ ($100)

Carbon 38 gift card– If your fit chick is also a fashionista, she will love the high fashion fitness gear on Carbon 38. If you aren’t sure of her size or what to get, a gift card does the trick.

Shaker– Shakers are multi-purpose: BCAAS, pre-workout, protein. But somehow I always manage to lose mine. You can never have too many shakers. ($8)

S’well Water Bottle- Help your fit chick stay hydrated with this BPA water bottle she can use for hot or cold beverages. Swell also gives back to charity so you can feel good about your purchase. ($35)

Quest Bars– Still my favorite bar because of taste and nutrtition stats. Quest has developed a lot more flavors recently, there is sure to be one that suits your fit chick. My current fave is blueberry muffin. ($24.99)

Gift Certificate to a favorite studio or trainer– Experiences can be the best gift. Why not hook her up with a gift certificate to her (or your) favorite studio or trainer and score some quality time getting fit together.

Are any of these items on your wish list? Do you have any other great gift ideas for fit chicks? Happy Holidays!

XOXO

Valerie

Posted in Fitness, Nutrition, Valerie Tagged with: , ,

Hard Stuff

hard stuff

hard stuffIn these past few months I have dealt with the birth of my second baby, discovering my husband’s infidelity, going through the divorce process and learning how to live life as a single mom. This has been hard, hard stuff. I spent the first 2 months in total shock and devastation over the affair and the loss of my marriage and family as I had known it. After my initial devastation, I bounced back to a more normal place. I am back to being generally happy and optimistic, I have accepted the loss of my marriage and moved on. But continues to shake my world is how hard life has been on my own. There’s no one to help me take care of the kids when I am feeling sick or tired. There’s no one to help me with the little mundane tasks that add up like washing dishes, taking the car to the shop, calling the insurance company, or getting the dry cleaning done. There’s no one to share in the little funny things my kids do or say each day. And that is hard. But I persevere.

Physically it is a lot of work to take care of two small children by yourself– and that is hard. I feel fortunate that I am fit, because really I don’t know how else I would be able to get everything done. I am unsure how much of this “hard stuff” is just what comes with having a second child and how much is actually being a single parent. Maybe I am blessed that I don’t know. That I can live in this ignorance and think to myself: “this is just how it is with a second child.” And oh how I wanted that second baby.ย  I am thankful everyday for Pierce and I would go through all of this again just to have him with me. And that is hard. But I persevere.

Fitness is kind of like that too. When you are working out you do a lot of “hard stuff.” Exercising can get uncomfortable and you need that discomfort to create change in your body. The problem is, some people feel the pain or discomfort and give up. Don’t give up. Keep putting in the hard work, and you will reap the benefits. You will start to have more energy, to feel and look better, to get stronger physically, mentally and emotionally.

So even on cold windy days like today, go get some exercise in. And that is hard. But I know you will persevere.

XOXO

Valerie

Posted in Goals, Motivation, Valerie Tagged with: , ,

GRIT

Sometimes it can seem like the people we admire got where they are because they are lucky. However, in reality there is usually a lot of hard work behind that success. I was reminded of that the other day when I watched the story of Autumn Calabrese. She is a Beach Body “fitness celebrity.” As a fellow single mom who has achieved substantial success in the fitness industry, she is someone I look up to. I would often look at her success and think, “she’s really lucky, she has it all.” But in listening to her tell the story of how she got there I realized that luck has nothing to do with it, she made lots of sacrifices and worked her ass off.
grit
It’s easy to make the same assumptions about fitness. You see someone with a great body and you think they got lucky or it’s just their genetics. But rarely is that the case. Having a great shape comes from putting in consistent work at the gym and consistently eating healthily.

Too often, we start an exercise program or a diet and give up because we don’t get the results we want right away. Instead, we need to push through the doubt and trust the process. Because it is a process, and sometimes it will feel like you are crawling, sometimes it will feel like you have stopped and sometimes out of the blue it will feel like you are making great strides. Don’t give up. Trust the process. Stick with it. Success takes hard work and the .grit to keep going even when the going gets tough.

XOXO

Valerie

Posted in Fitness, Goals, life, Motivation, Nutrition Tagged with: , , ,